The pros and cons of dealing with different dog sources
With so many dogs available for adoption or sale, you wouldn’t think we’d need to write an article about such a topic. Think of this as more of a pros and cons tip sheet; a listing of things that you should consider in relation to the various sources that you might contact while on the search for the perfect pet dog.
With so many wonderful canines in dire need of a home, is there a better place to look than here? While this is a popular starting point for many people who are hoping to bring a dog into their world, sadly, not enough dogs ever walk back out the shelter door that they first came through. Don’t make the common mistake of discounting an animal shelter as a potential source for obtaining a purebred dog; according to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), approximately 25% to 30% of a shelter’s dogs are purebreds (www.hsus.org/pets/pet_adoption_information/ ).
While the historical records of these dogs are not always known, almost all of them receive proper medical attention prior to being released to a new owner. Be aware that it’s a common shelter requirement that such dogs eventually be spayed or neutered, if they haven’t already been, within a certain period after they leave the facilities.
Due to the interaction of these dogs with employees, volunteers, and veterinarians who provide services to the shelter, such people can often provide you with valuable input about the dog’s personality and individual needs. This will greatly increase your chances at successfully finding a dog that will best fit your lifestyle and personal needs.
Dog Breed Rescue Groups
There are a large number of specific dog breed rescue organizations. These dogs are taken in by such groups for a variety of reasons. Some come from homes where their owners can no longer care for them, whether due to changes in the owner’s health, financial status, or potential relocation. Others are neglect and/or abuse cases.
The individuals who temporarily take them into custody lovingly care for these dogs. As the welfare of the dog is of the utmost importance, potential new owners are often rigorously “interviewed” to determine whether they’re suitable dog parents. Even when a dog is released to a new owner, there can be a trial period where the dog is visited in his or her new home numerous times before the adoption is finalized.
As is the case with animal shelters, historical records and registration papers are not always available for each of these dogs but what information is known is willingly shared. Depending on the organization, dogs might receive medical treatment beyond that which was required to attend to any of their initial needs.
There are generally two types of dog breeders, those who breed for the advancement of the breed and those that breed dogs to make an income. While one has the welfare of all of their dogs in the forefront of their efforts, the other has the status of their bank account as their driving force. If you have your heart set on owning a happy and healthy pedigree dog, whether for breeding, show, or companion purposes, deal only with the former. Run from the latter as quickly as you can, even if they offer you a “good deal” on a dog.
A good dog breeder will have thorough records for each of their animals. They will also likely have obtained the highest level of medical care possible for their dogs. If the breeding facilities and the health and demeanor of the dogs, as well as the personality of the actual breeder, all pass your inspection, such information and care is often worth the purchase price of the dog.
It’s still a good idea to have a pre-purchase examination done by a veterinarian prior to finalizing your purchase. Many breeders have a return policy if things don’t work out in your new home, but be sure to get the details in writing.
Heaven knows, there is always a multitude of listings for free or cheap dogs looking for a good home. When pursuing such an ad, you could be dealing with a person who’s selling puppies from an unexpected litter or who’s giving away an adult dog that showed up on their doorstep as a stray.
Usually the person is well intentioned. They truly want to find a loving home for the pets that have in one way or another entered their world. They might not know every detail about the dog but they’ll usually provide you with whatever information that they do have. Once again, a pre-purchase exam would be a worthwhile investment. If the current owner has a problem with that request, simply look elsewhere. It’s not worth the risk.
You’ve heard the warnings before. While it’s true that many of these dogs come from less-than-reputable breeders (perhaps “dealers” would be a better descriptive word), we still have faith that there are at least a few good pet stores out there. Finding them however could be like finding a needle in a haystack or a two-week old puppy in a one-hundred acre cornfield.
The records that you obtain about these dogs might be lacking or worse yet, inaccurate. Medical treatment will probably be the minimum amount required by state law. Socialization skills will be dependent on how much these dogs are actually handled and allowed to interact together. Many of them might have been taken away from their mother at too early of an age, which could lead to a number of potential problems.
If you choose to purchase your pup from a pet store, all we can say is buyer beware. Actually though, that would be the same recommendation that we’d give for any dog source that you deal with. Proceed cautiously and be thorough with evaluating any dogs that you’re interested in purchasing from a pet store. A pre-purchase examination is an absolute necessity for any of these dogs.
Regardless of where your search takes you for your new dog, take your time and be thorough with your review of any potential candidates. Ask lots of questions and return to visit the dog as often as necessary to make the best choice. The perfect dog for you is out there – keep looking until you find him or her. It happens all of the time.